Image by Antonios Ntoumas from Pixabay
Aya Pfeufer celebrates the benefits of lockdown to both our outer and inner world
From cleaner air to liberated wildlife, the global coronavirus lockdowns are having various positive effects.
We are encouraged to self-isolate and stay indoors to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, outside the natural environment has been benefiting from our absence.
Improved air quality
One of the positive impacts of the coronavirus lockdown due to the outbreak is cleaner air. Major cities around the world such as London, New Delhi, Seoul, Wuhan have experienced a significant decrease in air pollution levels, as people have been using public transport and vehicles less; the restrictions have encouraged people to spend more time at home.
Another impact of the coronavirus restrictions is that large numbers animals, ranging from mountain goats to dears, have taken the occasion to travel the roads as noise pollution has greatly reduced, due to less people in the streets.
In Barcelona, Spain boars have been strolling the streets. In Nara, Japan sika deers have been seen roaming through the city, in search of food as there have been less tourists.
There has been several environmental benefits such as increased visibility and clearer water. For example, the water in the Venice canals is clearer and bluer than before since the city went under coronavirus lockdown. There has been less boats, cruise ships and motorboat traffic in the canals, so there has been less pollutants and exhaust from the ships, resulting in significant improvements in air quality and clearer water, as the sediment stays at the bottom of it.
Overall, lockdown has had many benefits, not only on the environment but also on us. It may seem very overwhelming at first as life has changed drastically as we know it.
However, there is more time than before to purse new hobbies such as learning a new language or skill that you may not have had the time to do before, or exercising more often.
I myself have discovered that I enjoy starting my day by taking a walk in the park or just outside. I have found it relaxing to observe the shape of the trees and listen to the wind and the sound of the birds.
I still have a lot of time, and have been reflecting on how I really feel in this unexpected period and questioning why I feel this way and where it comes from.
In fact, taking walks in the park is a healing method in Japanese medicine. It is known as ‘forest bathing’ and is believed to be beneficial for the mind, body and soul. Time spent underneath the trees fights against diseases.
I think that it’s important that we disconnect from our mobile phones once in a while and reconnect with ourselves through surrounding ourselves by nature.
I would advise other young people to reflect and focus on activities that you really enjoy, and to keep in contact with those who make you happy and assured.
With the cancellation of GCSE and A-level exams, some students may be feeling relieved or disappointed.
For those who feel anxiety and doubt around certain subjects and grade outcomes in the future, we should accept that we cannot control the process of how our grades will be finalised, but what we can control is what we do now and use our time preparing for future exams.
Overall, it is very advisable and helpful to keep a positive mindset and hopeful attitude towards the future and if you still feel anxiety you should acknowledge it, and seek help by talking to a close relative or friend and try to move on.
Also, writing down my feelings in a notebook helps me to release thoughts causing me to feel uneasy. Alternatively, there are mindfulness apps such as ‘jours’ to keep track of your thoughts by recording them, however I prefer using a pen and a notebook.
Meditation can also help me connect to the presence through breathing. This will be my next exploration!